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Who is the oldest practicing rock climber?
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dangle


Oct 3, 2005, 5:13 PM
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Damn! cc,
same age as me and roped climbing a few years longer. You REALLY jumped the gun.

But like tens of thousands of other climbers who have also roped up with Fred and seen him climb I know why he's still practicing...















(That's a joke OK? a joke. just a joke. Fred has done some remarkable climbs. I hear he's even done some FAs. Besides I had to practice for 20 years before I got it right.)


Jim Donini is eleven years older than me and can outfree me on anything although he shamelessly rehearses his pet sandbags. He has had the good sense to not do walls with me.
But he's not as good a tracker either which is surprising for a former green beret combat veteran.

Point being, you can be old and still on the rocks but that doesn't mean you AREN'T in the way nonetheless. I'm for anyone any age doing what they can do well.


cosmiccragsman


Oct 3, 2005, 7:41 PM
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Hello Dangle.
I couldnt help jumping the gun. Especially living right outside Indian Cove.
Cosmiccragsman


curt


Oct 3, 2005, 7:50 PM
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Continuing into your 80's requires not only interest and determination, but extraordinary luck with genetics, disease, and injuries. Bullit and Beckey are outliers in the climber age data pool.

Oh, how true! There's lots of luck involved.

Another number of interest would be the total of age + years climbing. Wear and tear can do a job on you. Beckey would be way out ahead at 147, I would be 120 (68 +52), Stim would be 112, and Rich 109. There are probably quite a few members of the Century Club if you consider Europeans, as well as some more Americans. Lou Lutz would be a member, perhaps at 112 or 117 - I don't recall if he started at 65 or 60. 8^)

I'm only at 75 on that index, but I'm not done yet.... 8^)

Curt


ajkclay


Oct 4, 2005, 5:09 AM
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I was just a little curious as to who would be the Person on this site that is the oldest practicing rock climber or the climber that has been climbing for the longest time. I think that whoever you are should get a little praise for your accomplishments. So Could all you veteran climbers pleas start posting how old you are and how long you have been climbing? Thanks :wink:

Well, I'm up there, but way ahead of me are John Gill (jgill) and Richard Goldstone (rgold) here.

Curt

Damn! got in before any of us could say it!


mbg


Jan 17, 2006, 8:28 PM
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Does anyone know if the Conns of Seneca and SD Needles fame are still climbing and how old they are?

thanks, mtnbkr

I'm dragging up an old thread here, but when I talked to the Conns (of much more than Needles fame) at Devils Tower about 7 years ago they had pretty much given up climbing but were still caving in the Black Hills. For people their age they're pretty damn spry.

Someone asked who the oldest woman still active might be. Jan Conn has to rank up there, even if she's spelunking more than climbing these days.


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Jan 18, 2006, 10:07 AM
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George Hurley is 70 or 71. Still climbs a lot and hard. In 1997 he sent The Black Crack on Cathedral in winter, NEI 5, M7,5.10R,FWA.

Edit to add: It's an offwidth!


redlegrangerone


Jan 19, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Fred is 82. I saw him a couple of weeks ago here in Tucson. He was climbing a 5.9 on Windy Point on Mt. Lemmon.


catbird_seat


Jan 19, 2006, 11:37 AM
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I have no idea if they post on RC.com, but a couple more PNW climbers to add to Lambone's contribution would be Tom Hornbein (West Ridge Everest, 1963), and Ed Cooper (one of Fred's old FA competitors). Both of them look like they are in great shape and still climb. I don't have their ages handy.


Partner robdotcalm


Jan 31, 2006, 8:26 PM
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I've seen Rob Kelman pull stuff that most 20 year olds can't. He's also recently written a great revision to his guidebook and gotten married. He's pretty geezerish. I'm thinking 75 or so. rob.calm here and climbingboulder.

Thanks for the comments. Somehow, I’ve missed this thread. Maybe because I am 75. I think this makes me the oldest person posting regularly at rc.com. If I had my druthers, I’d like to be the oldest person flashing 5.12, but you got to settle for what you can do. Yes, it is true that I can climb things many 20 years old can’t touch—mostly sport climbers who are flummoxed on offwidths. As you get older, your reputation is easily enhanced by story telling exaggeration, which I do my best to encourage . For example, one story circulating some years back had my age advanced by 11 years and my climbing skills by 2 number grades! It makes for a good story to say I climbed with this 80 year old, cranking a runout 5.11 finger crack. The truth was I was 69 years old and it was a well-protectable 5.9 handcrack

My total age is 75 + 35 =110. I started climbing when I was 41 and that was only because my older son (12 then) wanted to take climbing lessons and insisted I come along. I had opportunities earlier but thought climbing was too stupid and dangerous to get involved. My officemate as a graduate student at UC Berkeley was the late Leigh Ortenburger, a noted mountaineer and author of the Tetons guidebook. He tried to get me to climb, but I turned him down. I ran and lifted weights (unusual back in the 1950s), and he decided to join me as a training measure—something few climbers did then. Later in the 1960s, when I was on the mathematics faculty at Colorado State University, someone told me that one of our graduate students was a well-known climber—John Gill. When I asked what he had climbed, I was told some rocks at Horsetooth Reservoir. I was unimpressed nothing but some little boulders! Ten years later when I had started climbing myself and tried “some rocks at Horsetooth Reservoir”, I was impressed. I regard John as a young man sort of like my son now approaching 50.

I’ve always exercised (a genetic compulsion, which comes from my father’s family), never smoked and been moderate on junk food, but most importantly have been lucky. My biggest health problem was a defective aortic valve that I was born with and was replaced in open heart surgery in 1997 with a bull valve (that sounds more impressive than a “bovine prosthesis”). The prosthesis has worked fine since then. I do have an arthritic left knee secondary to lots of trauma including fractured tibia, torn ACL and torn medial meniscus. I can’t run on it, but it’s OK for walking, climbing, and weight lifting. In fact, I think that the primary reason, I’ve not needed a total prosthesis is conscientiously doing a leg workout at least once a week—squats, power cleans, and dead lifts. If I live long enough, I’ll probably need a prosthesis but it’s best avoided as long as possible. Eyesight is fine and hearing is mediocre. I have a deep, spiritual sense of gratitude that I can still climb.

When I started climbing, one felt pretty good if he could do some hard 5.7s, but standards kept rising. I gradually got into the medium 10s and an occasional 11 (any kind of route), but with little climbing the past 3 years found myself leading 5.8 this past year. My goal this year is to get back into the easy 10s. I’ve always enjoyed working routes but, at what are moderate standards today, not too many climbers do. It’s been hard finding the time the last 3 years between finishing the guidebook, eldercare, getting married and moving to a new house and remodeling it. Also, Mary and I now have 6 grandchildren locally so a lot of time goes there. No complaints, but a simple statement of fact that it does cut into outdoor climbing time. I told Mary that my goal is to climb outdoors a 100 days this year. We’ll see.

Through a local outing club, I take a couple of students once or twice on year on a two-day wide crack class—one day of chimneys and one of offwidths. This greatly enhances the fanciful story telling about my prowess since gym rats, who are much stronger climbers than I, flounder on a 5.7 wide crack. This past year, I added a day of slab climbing. Now that’s fun: watching a strong climber trying to get close to the rock or even dynoing on a slab. The youngsters learn fast, but need some convincing that techniques which work on an overhanging wall aren’t suited to low angle rock. It strikes me as weird that I have to teach really strong climbers what to do on low angle rock. That is so backwards from when I started, but tempora mutantor nos et mutamur in illis (the times change and we change with them).

Cheers,

Rob.calm
_______________________________________________________
‘Tis better to have trad and failed then not to have trad at all.


red_panda


Jan 31, 2006, 11:50 PM
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Hey thanks Rob,
That is quite the inspiring testimony you have and I thank that I can speak for most climbers when I say you are an inspiration to us all to do our best, keep in shape and have fun all the way. I have always known that it would be so good to stay active all my life and grow old with style. You have shown us that it is possible and worth the effort. Thanks for gracing my humble inquiry about the elders of rock climbing.


rockguide


Feb 1, 2006, 12:39 AM
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My index is only 61. Such the young nOOb.

Any advice from the older, more experienced climbers?


g
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Feb 1, 2006, 1:22 AM
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Does anyone know if the Conns of Seneca and SD Needles fame are still climbing and how old they are?

thanks, mtnbkr

I'm dragging up an old thread here, but when I talked to the Conns (of much more than Needles fame) at Devils Tower about 7 years ago they had pretty much given up climbing but were still caving in the Black Hills. For people their age they're pretty damn spry.

Someone asked who the oldest woman still active might be. Jan Conn has to rank up there, even if she's spelunking more than climbing these days.
Yeah, they are in their mid-80s, and as far as I know, you are correct.


healyje


Feb 1, 2006, 1:56 AM
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Good to know I'm only middle aged by these standards with a meager 85 index...


ridgeclimber


Feb 5, 2006, 3:20 PM
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My great-uncle is mid 80's and still climbs in the Andes. Just got back from a trip acutally.


giza


Feb 5, 2006, 3:50 PM
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http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org/.../Fred-BeckeyW700.jpg


Partner tattooed_climber


Feb 5, 2006, 4:12 PM
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steve, thats a classic shot of fred beckey...i'd kill to climb with that cat...he's mid 80's too...


Partner rgold


Feb 7, 2006, 6:27 PM
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I ain't the oldest, but I do have a pair of pictures taken forty years apart. The old one is in Devil's Lake, mid sixties. I don't recall the climb. Note the outfit, swami, homemade slings, funky shoes, and absence of chalk.
The modern one is in the Gunks on City Lights. Note the helmet, harness, double ropes, chalk bag, sticky rubber, and rack of gear. Progress.
http://www.ucmcpioneers.org/...oldstone_leadB01.jpg
http://www.ucmcpioneers.org/...hts5p8Dec05web-1.jpg


giza


Feb 7, 2006, 6:57 PM
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I ain't the oldest, but I do have a pair of pictures taken forty years apart. The old one is in Devil's Lake, mid sixties. I don't recall the climb. Note the outfit, swami, homemade slings, funky shoes, and absence of chalk.
The modern one is in the Gunks on City Lights. Note the helmet, harness, double ropes, chalk bag, sticky rubber, and rack of gear. Progress.

Wow!!! That's impressive.


nivlac


Feb 8, 2008, 9:53 AM
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We just had a birthday celebration for the youngest climber in our gym. Made me curious and I found this thread. Here's to Dario, 80 years young and still climbing strong in the midwest!

For those of you with the SoIll climbing guide, there's a pic of him on Dust Doctors (5.8 trad) at age 77.

C


bent_gate


Feb 8, 2008, 10:11 AM
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The oldest practicing rock climber?

I don't know, but if he's been around longer than some of the old guys in this sport, I doubt he needs practice...


ammon


Feb 8, 2008, 10:14 AM
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So we have Stim who is 86 with 26 years of climbing on the OD(odometer) and Fred who is 82 and has at least 65 years of climbing on the OD.

Fred just turned 85 in January... he plans on climbing El Cap this year.


pastprime


Feb 8, 2008, 2:43 PM
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At 64, I'm not the oldest, but getting up there. Been climbing for 45 years this year, which gives a Gill index of 109. Holy cow. What a long strange trip it's been. I've done a whole lot of interesting things in life, but the very best have been centered around climbing.
Well, that, and some absolutely incredible women.

Around here, (N. Utah), only a few years younger than me, is Kim Miller. He and Mark Ward, back in the mid '70's, did some of the first 5.11's around here, and put up some of the hardest routes at the time in the SLC area, some of which are still considered pretty intimidating. He can still be seen rather frequently free soloing multi pitch 5.8's and .9's on nice summer days.

Advice? Stay very focused whenever you are on the rock, and religiously follow everything you know to keep gravity from winning. If you stay at it a long time, even very long odds can catch you up.
And most of all, treasure every minute you are out there. Every hold, every move, every bit of warm sun or blowing spindrift; every moment on a tiny belay ledge watching the rest of the world far below; is a moment that, in all eternity, you will never have again.


(This post was edited by pastprime on Feb 8, 2008, 2:53 PM)


cologman


Feb 8, 2008, 3:14 PM
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On the Gill index I'm 1 year short of the centarian mark. 57 this year and 42 years. What makes it even more enjoyable is I just tic'd my first 5.12 ever!!!!

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